Deciphering Fad Diets

January 1st is approaching fast, and many people start thinking about the most common New Year resolution - weight loss. Some people have probably picked their weight loss program, and some are still researching and looking at many different options. I would like to help you to decipher fad diets that will help you to make the best decision.  

With new diet books published daily, and thousands of websites claiming the secret to weight loss, it can be pretty overwhelming deciding which diet to follow. You need to ask yourself few questions to decide if it is a healthy diet or a fad diet:

1.      Does the diet claim extremely fast results? If it does, the plan is unrealistic. The most effective and long lasting weight loss is slow and steady. It is healthy to lose in between ½ - 2 lbs per week. If the diet claims that you will lose 10 lbs in two weeks, you should not pick this plan.
2.      Does the diet promise weight loss without exercise? Losing and maintaining weight without exercise is impossible. If you are not going to exercise, you will start losing your valuable lean muscles which can dramatically slow down your metabolism. To lose fat is not so easy. If you are not doing weight and cardio training, you won’t be able to lose fat. This is plain and simple.
3.      Does the diet eliminate entire food groups/nutrients? If the diet asks to eliminate entire food groups or nutrients, it can be dangerous for your health. You might be missing out on key nutrients necessary for healthy living. Dieting should not be painful. Sound nutrition is the key for success. You can eat healthy, enjoy your life and still lose weight.
4.      Does the diet require limiting water intake? Never buy into this nonsense. If the diet limits water intake, you will be losing body water that can be dangerous.
5.      Does the diet require to add supplements to your diet to make up for missing nutrients?  If it does, it is not a healthy diet to follow. You have to have a balanced diet that has all macro- and micro- nutrients. If your nutrition is off, the supplements are not going to help. When you have a healthy nutrition in place, you can add supplements to enhance your nutrition.
6.      Do you have to purchase specific foods or products from the company? If you need to spend a fortune on specific foods and products, stop, and think again. What will happen if you will stop using products? Chances are that you will gain your weight back.
7.      Is the focus of the diet on wellness or weight loss? If the diet focuses only on weight loss, it is not a good diet to follow. Most of the time, these diets are very low in calories, missing entire food groups, and does not allow physical activity.
8.      Does the diet address weight maintenance? What are the long-term maintenance statistics? A diet that helps people to keep weight off over the years is much healthier one to follow. If you won’t be able to keep your weight off, it is a waste of time and money to follow a diet.
9.      The most important question you should ask yourself when choosing the plan is whether you would be able to follow the diet for the rest of your life. Many diets are effective in short term but it is impossible to be on these diets for the rest of your life. To be successful and lose unwanted weight, you need to change your lifestyle, modify your behavior, learn how to eat healthy and clean, and exercise on regular basis.
There is no magic pill when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. It takes hard work, lifetime dedication, and time. You have not gained your weight overnight, and you won’t lose it overnight either. Do not look for a diet, look for a lifestyle change. The best diet to follow is one that comes from whole foods, teaches you the concepts of good nutrition, allows you to choose your own foods, encourages an overall healthy lifestyle, and is one that you can stay with for the rest of your life.

Remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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